Chiefs get to face yet another backup quarterback
KANSAS CITY, Mo. --Five observations on the current state of the Chiefs.
GETTING THE BREAKS
I've said it before, but for any team, no matter how talented, to get to 7-0, you need to get breaks.
And the sea continues to part for the Chiefs.
We all know how fortunate the schedule has fallen for the Chiefs: They started the season with a layup against the Jags, they got the NFC East in the one year that division is awful and so on.
And lately, they have played teams going through quarterback changes. First it was at Tennessee, where Jake Locker was out and Ryan Fitzpatrick was in. Then Houston, with Case Keenum in for Matt Schaub.
And now the Chiefs face the Browns, who have benched Brandon Weeden for journeyman Jason Campbell.
While Campbell probably is an upgrade over Weeden, he has to be somewhat rusty. Campbell has thrown only four passes this season, completing one.
Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson doesn't necessarily see facing backup quarterbacks as a huge advantage, though.
"I mean, it can be a good and bad thing," Johnson says. "You don't have much film on these guys, but at the same time, they haven't seen a game and what we can bring to it live. Hopefully, we can pose some problems to them."
You certainly won't get the Chiefs to pop off that facing a wave of backup quarterbacks gives them a huge edge -- no bulletin board stuff coming out of this locker room.
"They're NFL quarterbacks, so you have to respect them," Tamba Hali says. "The minute you don't, or let your guard down, you get beat."
PICKING ON THE OFFENSE
The Chiefs are a pedestrian 19th in the league in total offense at 330.7 yards per game, and they are worse in passing yards -- 26th in the league at just 210 per game.
But even though he hears the criticism, quarterback Alex Smith doesn't take it to heart.
"I think for us, the bottom line is to win games," Smith says. "With that, it's to continue to get better as the season goes on. You have got to continue to play better and better football as the stages get bigger. This last week, certainly areas to improve on, the red zone, but we put more yards up on that defense, the No. 1 defense in the NFL, than any other team this season. So, there are also positives."
Yes, we should keep that in mind: The 357 yards the Chiefs managed Sunday was the most against Houston this season.
The mood in the Chiefs' locker room these days has been understandably upbeat. It's hard not to be in a good mood when you're 7-0.
But the Chiefs' coaching staff seems to have done a good job of keeping the players humble. The message from the coaching staff has been simple: Enjoy the success, but reach for more.
"It's still early," safety Eric Berry says. "We're not even halfway through the season yet, but we love winning. We love winning games, but it's about being 1-0 this week, so if we win this game that will be another rung on the ladder.
Smith says no one is sitting around talking about being the NFL's last unbeaten team.
"I mean, to be honest, I don't think it's something that we're thinking a whole lot about," Smith says. "For us, I think this team has done a good job of being shortsighted and keeping it about football. Every day it's about football, it's about the details, going out and doing your job and preparing yourself. I think this team has the right mindset that we haven't gotten ahead of ourselves at all."
FASANO A BIG HELP
We've mentioned this before, but the return of tight end Anthony Fasano had a positive impact on the offense Sunday, and that should continue as the season goes on.
Coach Andy Reid couldn't agree more.
"I don't want to slight the other guys because they've done a heck of a job stepping in now and they're working things out," he says. "That's an important position in this offense. It's closest -- with the exception of the running backs -- it's the closest eligible receiver to the quarterback 99 percent of the time. Normally, it ends up being your quarterback's security blanket.
"To have somebody with (Fasano's) quality back in there, I think is important. It's also somebody that Alex (Smith) trusts. You saw that early in the game Sunday."
BEWARE THE BROWNS' SPECIAL TEAMS
Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said his group is wary of Browns return man Travis Benjamin, who two weeks ago was the AFC special teams player of the week when he set a franchise record with 179 punt-return yards, including a 79-yarder for a score. Benjamin also has an 86-yard kickoff return this season.
"You don't have to look at the film long for him to get your attention," Toub says. "He can change a game quickly and get you some instant offense. We have to be ready."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email email@example.com.